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Morus alba

Morus Alba (White Mulberry) is a plant where both the fruit and roots have been used traditionally for vitality and immune support; it may have cognitive enhancing properties (mostly unexplored) and anti-cancer effects.

Our evidence-based analysis on morus alba features 137 unique references to scientific papers.

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Summary of Morus alba

Primary information, health benefits, side effects, usage, and other important details

Morus Alba is the White Mulberry, although the fruits are what 'White Mulberry' refers to the stems and leaves are also commonly used as a tea and, more recently, in supplements as ethanolic/ethyl acetate extractions (supplements, or a wine extraction) appear to concentrate the bioactives. The term Morus can be seen as synonymus with the common word 'Mulberry' where the species of Alba literally means White (derived from the Latin term Albus). Other Morus herbs differ in their coloration, such as Morus Nigra (Black Mulberry) and are not the subject of this article.

White Mulberry has had all parts of it used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for a variety of purposes, but currently most evidence on Morus Alba is in regards to its anti-diabetic properties. Surprisingly, there is a large body of repeated rodent evidence to suggest it effective in reducing blood sugar regardless of previous state (toxin-induced diabetic, diet-induced diabetic, genetically diabetic or normal rodents) but with no current human evidence.

It merely appears to inhibit absorption of carbohydrates from the intestines, with most potency on inhibiting sugar absorption (fairly weak in inhibiting starch absorption, but is synergistic with Hibiscus Sabdariffa on this which would make a nice combination). For the most part, this is tied back into the iminosugar compound known as 1-deoxynojirimycin which is a glucose molecule with a nitrogen attached it it; it inhibits enzymes that have affinity for sugars via competitive inhibition where the enzyme is attracted to the glucose structure but cannot act effectively due to the nitrogen group (which does not exist on sugars normally and hinders the enzyme's functions)

There appear to be promising cognitive effects associated with Morus Alba as well, with some evidence suggesting it can increase memory formation and cognition to a level similar to Piracetam; interesting, there are some pyrrole alkaloids in Morus Alba (a structural class of molecules that Piracetam belongs to) but these have not yet been connected to the observed cognitive benefits.

Morus Alba may also have respectible benefits to cardiovascular health (with improvements in circulating lipids and cholesterol, with fairly potent reductions in atherosclerotic plaque buildup possibly related to potent in vitro anti-inflammatory properties) but similar to the other claims these have not yet been tested in humans.

Currently, the evidence suggests that Morus Alba is a highly promising functional food and tea product that may have benefit as a supplement especially in regards to cognition and glucose control but currently does not have sufficient evidence to suggest how potent these benefits are in humans and whether or not Morus Alba is a 'go-to' supplement.

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How to Take

Medical Disclaimer

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

For the purpose of reducing carbohydrate absorption and glucose spikes following a meal, morus alba must be consumed alongisde said carbohydrate source. The dosage appears to be 500-1,000mg/kg in rat studies (assuming about a 0.11% 1-deoxynojirimicin content) which is an estimated human dose of:

  • 5,400-11,000mg for a 150lb person

  • 7,300-14,500mg for a 200lb person

  • 9,000-18,000mg for a 250lb person

Concentrated extracts may reduce the above requirement, so a 10:1 concentrated extract (for the 1-deoxynojirimicin content) would then require 900-1,800mg at the heaviest weight.

For inflammation and other health related issues (such as uric acid), the rat dose appears to be in the range of 20-200mg/kg which is an estimated human dose of:

  • 220-2,200mg for a 150lb person

  • 300-2,900mg for a 200lb person

  • 400-3,600mg for a 250lb person

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Human Effect Matrix

Unlocked for Examine Plus members

The Human Effect Matrix summarizes human studies to tell you what effects Morus alba has on your body, how much evidence there is, and how strong these effects are.

Full details are available to Examine Plus members.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
Notes
grade-d Minor - See study
A decrease in symptoms of melasma and subsequent improvement of skin quality has been noted with mulberry oil dissolved in coconut oil relative to coconut oil itself, topical application

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Things to Note

Also Known As

White Mulberry, Karayamaguwa, Sohakuhi, Sang-Bai-Pi, Ramulus Mori

Do Not Confuse With

Basella Alba or Eclipta Alba

Goes Well With

  • Hibiscus Sabdariffa (Roselle) as it augments the efficacy in inhibiting the α-amylase enzyme which digests starch, the carbohydrate digestive enzyme which Morus Alba is weakest in inhibiting

Caution Notice

  • It is possible to be allergic to Morus Alba, which seems to correlate highly with birch pollen allergies[1]

  • The fruits of Morus Alba (White Mulberries) have different properties than teas made from the stems or leaves; the latter is more anti-diabetic while cognitive aspects may be in the latter but have only currently been demonstrated with the former

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Click here to see all 137 references.